Manama: A Kuwaiti citizen who was detained by Iran for four months is now home seemingly in good condition.
Faleh Al Azmi was arrested in September as he was driving his car from Turkey towards Kuwait after weeks spent on European roads.
According to reports, Al Azmi “mistakenly entered an Iranian military zone on his way back to Kuwait from Turkey.”
However, he was never charged by the Iranian authorities and despite efforts by Kuwait’s diplomats he was released only on Monday and handed over to a Kuwaiti diplomat.
Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs Sami Al Hamad on Monday said that the diplomat accompanied Al Azmi to Tehran ahead of the flight to Kuwait.
“The foreign ministry had exerted every possible effort to secure the release of Al Azmi who was held in captivity for months,” Al Hamad said.
He denied reports that the former detainee had been tortured.
A large crowd of relatives and friends were at the airport on Tuesday evening to welcome Al Azmi who looked fit.
“I am grateful to everyone who kept me in their thoughts and prayers or exerted efforts to help secure my release,” he told reporters.
However, he did not wish to talk about his time in Iran.
“Whatever happened just happened and I thank God for everything. Let us pray for the best. I used my time in Iran to memorise the Holy Quran and to lose weight.”
Asked about his red sports car that he used for his road trip in Europe, Al Azmi said that “it is now taking a break.”
His maternal uncle said that the family was grateful to Kuwait’s Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad and to all the parties, especially the Kuwaiti embassy in Tehran, that contributed to the release of Al Azmi.
“Faleh is passionate about travel and he often heads to other countries to learn about their cultures and social traditions,” he said. “Faleh has never been involved in any threat to Iran.”
Last week, Kuwaiti lawmaker Hamdan Al Azmi called for active action by the Kuwaiti authorities to secure the release of Faleh Al Azmi.
“The authorities need to take strong stands towards Iran regarding the issue,” he said. “Whenever we have a problem with Iranians here, their government and their embassy take action and ensure they are freed. We must adopt the principle of reciprocity with Iran especially that Faleh is innocent and has never been charged.”